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Bruin Runners Shining In Cross Country Competition
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RHS Junior Varsity Cross Country team members are pictured with their medals for coming in with the Trans-Valley League Championship. The TVL meet was held Oct. 25 at Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto. Photo Contributed

A remnant of the RHS fall sports schedule remains, and Riverbank cross country coach Monte Wood reports that, although the season is winding down, the young runners on the team continue to shine.

“On Thursday, October 25 Riverbank cross country competed in the TVL (Trans-Valley League) Championships at Tuolumne Regional Park in Modesto,” he said. “The boys Junior Varsity team took first place medals in their event.”

In that JV boys race, he said, the Riverbank boys took home the TVL title without three of the top sophomores, who were running varsity. Freshman Alex Rios was the top runner on the team finishing in 11:48 for two miles. He was followed by Alejandro Rangel, Fredy Arana, Nick Mangiapane, and then Damian Bolanos to finish the top five scorers. Three of those top five runners were freshmen who have really improved over the course of the season, according to Wood.

“Almost all of the times were very impressive as runners like Julian Aguilera and Leo Pena took over two minutes off of their two mile time,” he said.

In the first race of the day, the JV girls took second place overall, just two points behind Hughson.

Their team was missing Ainsley Wood because of an injury, but fought hard to keep it close. Aimee Rosales finished third in the race and won an individual medal, Wood said. Jocelyn Ayala and Julia Kovneva also took home individual medals. Freshman Briana Gonzales probably ran the race of the day, the coach added. She took over two minutes off of her two mile time and finished with a strong kick at the end that was impressive, he reported.

“In the varsity girls race, we still could not field a complete team due to injuries. However Diane Murillo continued to run well and won an individual medal and set a personal record of 22:17 for 5k. Miriam Albor ran a huge personal record of 25:11. This was an almost two-minute improvement for her,” Wood noted.

In the varsity boys race, the team ended up finishing in sixth place. The third through fifth Bruin runners did not have good days and that impacted the team scoring, said the coach.

“Ramon Rosas won an individual medal with a time of 17:36. He was the TVL champion last year but has battled Achilles issues all this season that have kept him from doing all the training needed to really improve,” Wood said.

This past Saturday, Nov. 3 the teams competed in the subsection race at Frogtown in Angels Camp.

Division 4 has become increasing more challenging as the section has continued to drop larger and larger schools into D4, Wood explained. There are schools with an enrollment of 1350 now in D4 and teams like Placer and El Dorado were teams that traditionally qualified to state in D3.

The varsity boys did not qualify to sections for the third year in a row, Wood noting that they made the decision to drop the three sophomore varsity runners down to the frosh soph race.

“No varsity runners qualified to sections this year,” he said of the Bruin boys. “In the varsity girls race, Diane Murillo was the lone entrant, and she ran a great race and qualified as an individual to move on to sections this Saturday. She again ran a smart race by not taking off too fast and once she got into the hill loop she passed a lot of runners. Then in the last half mile she passed even more runners to get an individual qualifying spot.”

It was her first time running the varsity course at Frogtown and she ran a really good time, Wood reported.

The frosh/soph girls finished second overall in the subsection race and will compete at the section race on Nov. 10 as well. They continue to run well together.

“At the beginning of the race, they were way back, but they had started out smart and over the last half a mile, Aimee Rosales, Yara Choeb, Jocelyn Ayala, Julia Kovneva, and Marissa Cruz did an excellent job of pushing each other and moving through the field to end up finishing second overall,” Wood said. “Marissa Cruz did an exceptional job of hanging close to the others. She has really stepped up in place of the missing Ainsley Wood, who is still dealing with an injury. Aimee Rosales medaled in the race.”

The frosh/soph boys finished third overall and qualified to race this Saturday. Adan Salgado, Jesus Sepulveda, and Isaiah Bargas all medaled. Freshman Nick Mangiapane ran a great race to finish as the number four runner on the team.

“He has really improved, and he has a great attitude and work ethic,” added Wood. “Alejandro Rangel was the number five runner to finish out the scoring. We didn’t run real well in the number five spot, so we believe we can possibly move up to at least second next week if we do better.”

The section race is this Saturday, Nov. 10 at Folsom High School.